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Now that the average B2B buyer is more than halfway through her purchase decision before engaging with a sales rep, it’s critical that the content propelling a prospect through the pipeline is informative and relevant. An organization’s marketing team is usually responsible for creating sales content, and communication and collaboration between the two departments can be rare.

For forward-thinking organizations, however, the age-old tug of war between sales and marketing is finally coming to an end. Aligning marketing and sales goals ensures that a marketing team produces the kind of content its sales team needs to close more deals, and that sales can provide marketing with current and relevant ideas for content creation.

But that’s much easier said than done. Even the most harmonious sales and marketing unions had to start somewhere, and chances are the beginnings were less than smooth. How does an organization bring its sales and marketing teams together to create content that’s valuable to both teams as well as customers and prospects? And how can sales and marketing teams create a method that works every time?

Let sales take the lead

Involving your sales team in the content process can help bridge the gap between sales and marketing by giving ownership of content to sales. It can also help soothe tensions around when and how content is created.

Salespeople are hardwired to offer solutions. They’re always ready to persuade, explain, and sell their prospects on new products, services and ideas. That’s why you should involve your sales team in the conception and creation of content: they’re ideally positioned to tell you what customers want and need.

Sitting in on prospect meetings can ensure that sales and marketing content aligns with the way your sales team interacts with prospects. Consider using sales tools to inform the content you create. Be sure to encourage salespeople to create their own kinds of content as well: they can do things like reaching out to customers on social media or writing guests posts on relevant blogs. In addition to lightening the load on marketing, content generated by the sales team can help build credibility and brand awareness.

Go prospecting

Salespeople can give you an idea of what prospects are looking for in effective content, but prospects can tell you exactly what they’re looking for. Talking to current customers can offer insight into the messages that resonated with them during the buying process, and can help marketing teams craft content that’s both educational and engaging.

Use data to track the content you create

Talking to salespeople and the customers they serve will give a marketing team the tools it needs to produce effective content, but tracking content performance is a critical element of ensuring success. A data-driven content strategy can guide how marketing shapes messaging and how sales engages with prospects.

Tools like marketing automation software and Google Analytics provide top-of-the-funnel engagement metrics, which is useful for discovering where and how prospects come to your site and what they read while they’re there.

But sales automation software can provide performance insight for middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel sales content. Tracking how prospects engage with sales content like presentations, proposals and contracts keeps sales teams on top of pipeline activity; it also shows sales which kinds of content closes deals.

Sales and marketing will always have different goals, but there are plenty of places where those goals overlap with each other. Finding the common places and using them to build content will make both teams look good and positively affect the company’s bottom line. And when that happens, everyone wins.